Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative - Executive Summary
Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative is a new facility in Little Falls MN. The end product is a Denatured Ethyl Alcohol distilate that is added to gasoline to form "oxygenated motor fuels". The process involves many steps to obtain the pure alcohol needed to blend the fuel mixture. Corn is ground into a fine powder, then mixed with water and enzymes to form a mash. Yeast is then added to the mash to begin the fermentation process. The mash is then distilled to extract the alcohol. The natural gasoline (pentane) is then added to the alcohol in order to denature it. |
The only two chemicals that are above the reporting quantity for the "RMP" are the natural gas (pentane) and the (60%) solution of ammonia. These are both stored and handled according to the best practices in the industry. The natural gas (pentane) is in a storage vessel within a diked area, protected from unauthorized access and vehicle exposure. The ammonia solution is in a containment area outside of the plant,
protected by burm and dike constructed of cement.
The employees of this company are scheduled to receive regular OSHA safety training courses as well as additional "PSM" required information to operate the plant in the safest way posible. Standard operating procedures designed for this plant are explained to each employee and followed by all.
The entire facility is designed to prevent the need to implement emergency procedures. All systems are constantly monitored by a computer control panel, and alarms in the control room (staffed 24 hrs per day) alert operators of required adjustments or pending problems. Flow rates, temperatures, pressures, vessel levels, etc., are all monitored by "state of the art" systems. Any potential problem is detected at an early stage to prevent failure or uncontrolled release of products.
Should the monitoring system fail and a release would happen, emergency procedures have been established. Control room operators would become aware of the probl
em because of "out of spec." readings on the computer, or learn of any problems from maintenance personnel inside of the plant. At that time an evaluation of the situation would be performed by the shift supervisor, and the appropriate response would be implemented according to the company emergency action plan. Should it become nessessary to order an evacuation of the facility due to the fact that company employees are not trained or equipped to handle the magnitude of the situation, the local emergency response team (Little Falls Fire Department) would be called to assist and/or control the problem.
Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative was designed and built to operate as efficiently and as safely as possible. The employees professional approach to all of their job duties, and the never ending attention to proper equipment operations should maintain that high standard.